Monday, March 24, 2008

A Smashing Success!

Heather Moore, Josi Kilpack, Julie Wright, Annette Lyon

"A Smashing Success" is the only way to describe the 2008 LDStorymakers Writers Conference.

It was truly amazing. Our keynote speakers, Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary), and Timothy Travaglini (G.P. Putnam & Sons) were fantastic. They were funny, kind, and made themselves accessible to everyone.

Other speakers included Jessica Day George (author, Dragon Flight), Brandon Sanderson (author, Elantris), Dave Nibley (comedian and actor), Kirk Shaw (Covenant Editor), Lisa Mangum (Deseret Book Editor), Maryanne Jones (Deseret Book Publicist), Kammie Wrencher (Cedar Fort Editor), Christopher Bigelow (Zarahemla Books Publisher), and Janette Rallison (author, How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend).

The rest of the presenters were authors who are members of LDStorymakers.

At the end of the conference, we recognized all of the people on the committee who did an incredible job of bringing everything together:

Julie Wright
Scott Wright
Jeff Savage
Rob Wells
Brent Rowley
Josi Kilpack
Crystal Liechty
Julie Bellon
Candace Salima
Tristi Pinkston

Then we passed the gauntlet to Jeff Savage, who will be the director for Conference 2009.

Some of the notes I took that might be of interest:

Agent Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary) said not to stress over your cover letters. Every submission she receives, she sets the cover letter aside and reads the first pages. If she loves the writing then she'll read the cover letter to find out more about the author.

Senior Editor Tim Travaglini (G.P. Putnam Sons) said that in contrast to the other big publishing houses, Putnam takes unagented submissions. He encouraged the writers to continue working and improving their craft. And to make sure they educated themselves as to which publisher/imprint accepts what genres. He said that it's easier to to submit to junior editors since they are actively seeking new authors. He said to be sure to spell his name right.

Jessica Day George said she received 187 rejections before getting the call from a publisher offering a book contract. Ironically, the next day she received a form rejection letter from the same publisher--which had gone to a different editor and was purged from the slush pile in a big clean sweep.

Brandon Sanderson wrote nine books before getting a publishing contract. He promptly contacted the agent he had established a relationship with at a writers conference.

Kirk Shaw (Covenant editor) and Lisa Mangum (Deseret Book editor) were generous in coming to the conference and holding one-on-one interviews with writers. It's tough for a writer to get in front of a decision maker from a publisher. They added so much value and I was thanked over and over by conference attendees. Each of them also taught workshops and shared their advice for submitting and landing a publishing contract.


Tristi Pinkston said...

You and Annette totally rocked -- and to win a Whitney at the end -- wow! Congratulations on a great conference and on the win.

Don said...


Thanks for all the work you put into the conference. I really enjoyed it, and learned so much.

Congratulations on your award. That's awesome!

Nancy said...

Heather, I've heard so many wonderful things about the conference- the hard work paid off- you guys did a marvelous job. I'll be sure to be there for the whole thing next year! The Whitneys were wonderful and I was so excited to be there for the first ever awards dinner.
Nancy Campbell Allen

Rebecca Talley said...

Big congratulations on your win! I'm so excited for you.

You guys did such a fantastic job on the conference--I loved it. I was totally exhausted, but it was great. Thank you so much for all you did.

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks everyone. The conference came together like a good chocolate cookie recipe. All of the presenters put a lot of effort into their workshops and that made it all worth it. The award was certainly a nice surprise, now my job is to turn it into a great marketing tool :)

Karlene said...

It was a wonderful conference. Megan & I loved it. Thanks for all you did.

Trent and Nicole said...

It was wonderful to get to meet you and I thought it was very interesting what you said about you wanting the series to be "Of Goodly Parents" instead of "Out of Jerusalem". Neat to know the little details. It is obvious the amount of work you put into these novels and I for one am grateful for the fruits of such work.

Julie Wright said...

what a cool group of women that picture holds! Can I just say hoiw much joy it gives me to be in a picture with three incredible ladies? Loved the conference. You and Annette did a great job!